Several years ago, as I began my search for the meaning of life, I bought a cross pendant to wear as a necklace. The cross didn't signify my adherence to the Christian faith, but rather my quest to understand spirituality in general. It was important to me. My ex hated it. He's Jewish (non-practicing) and took it as a personal affront to the his Jewishness. He sulked, shouted, complained, told me he couldn't bear to look at or touch me when I was wearing it, etc. This went on for months. I tried over and over to explain that it didn't have anything to do with Christianity to me, but was an important symbol nonetheless. He simply refused to hear a word I said. What he thought about it was far more important that what I thought about it. (Imagine if I'd gotten a tattoo - yikes!) Even though I didn't agree with him, I finally decided that I was being selfish by keeping it on. He cared so much. I was sad about having to take it off. Sad he couldn't understand why I was wearing it. But I put it aside. This was one in a thousand instances of me giving up what I wanted because he just CARED SO MUCH. From what light switches to install in the newly renovated basement to never eating at that sushi place on the water because it was near the mall, and he just couldn't stand the mall. He also couldn't stand me wearing red, or most other colors, didn't like a lot of make-up, and so on and so forth. Every time, I just acquiesced. I loved him. I wanted him to be happy. I realize now what classic co-dependent behavior my actions were. I didn't know at the time. I was raised to manage people's feelings for them. I thought if something was really, really, really important, to someone, I should compromise. The problem comes in the imbalance. When almost everything is really, really, really important. Piece by piece I died. I crawled into my cave and I took a bottle with me for companionship. Fast forward to the current situation. We disagree on which school to send our daughter for 5th grade. I want to keep her where she is. He wants to sent her to Berkeley. I think they're both good schools, with Berkeley being slightly more organized. There's a waiting list for the school she's in though, so it's not a bad choice at all. My ex really, really, really thinks if she doesn't go to Berkeley this year, it will destroy her. Her middle school experience be awful beginning next year. We each have our reasons for our choice. We disagree on some facts. We've had three sessions with a counselor. I'm not willing to give in this time. But this time, I'm not tempted to hide in a cave. I don't feel compelled to manage his feelings for him. (The therapist even suggested that he look into individual therapy to explore why he's so emotionally attached to his choice. Ha! I've been saying the same thing for years.) I'm letting him have his feelings. And manage them. I don't know how we'll resolve this. He's used to me giving him what he wants. I don't think it would be disastrous if I don't get my way. But I'm standing up for myself at lsst. And letting him feel how he's going to feel about it. Breathing easier these days.